...The perennial talk about amalgamation of the Liberal and National Parties is with us again. If we allow this conservative trend to leave us a legacy of an amalgamated 'conservative' Party, we will confine ourselves to the position of a permanent minority rump, not the Party of government. It is natural that people without any understanding of a liberal philos- ophy and its modern message should seek comfort in a non-labor or 'conservative' grouping The result would be devastating and would end any pretensions we have to being seen as a modern, progressive body deserving of wide public support
Effective co-operation with our National party coalitionists is fine, but...any demands for amalga- mation should be treated with real reserve. "By their fruits ye shall know them", the Good Book tells us.
Liberalism is a sound philosophy adaptable to modern problems ... It is a worthy cause and a name with a proud message. Those who shelter under it must accept its true strictures. Liberals must be fearless on human rights issues, here and abroad, and compassion- ate towards those in need.
Above all, the Liberal Party must provide a positive alternative to other parties ...it is not sufficient merely to subscribe to the theory that, "if the Liberal Party sits back and keeps quiet, the Government will destroy itself". The banality of mere inheritance is no answer to the demands of incumbency.
Ours is a Party which promotes diversity and individualism. When conservatives and new rightists dominate, liberal minded people tend to shy away from the hard-line attitudes they adopt. They do not join us: they do not submit themselves for pre-selection. This is a present problem and the need is urgent for liberals to be heard and to play a greater part in policy formulation.
Those with free and independent minds find no solace in the notions of hard-headed economic rational- ism and market-style approaches to complex present problems. In the best sense of the word, the Liberal Party needs to be contemporary. To achieve this aim it must be constructive, not negative. It must be sensitive to the times. Above all, it must be reflective of the philosophy of the name it bears.
Occasional Paper- August 1985
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